Flight Club returns with renewed energy and evolved sound

Richmond punk band "Flight Club" celebrated the release of their new EP, "Recreational Love," on Friday. Photo by Jon Mirador

Quentin Rice, Staff Writer

The loading screens in Guitar Hero 2 contain quotes about life in a band with snide humor, and one of those quotes was crucial to the future of Richmond punk band, Flight Club.

“My favorite was, ‘A minifridge is more important than a bass player,’” said Flight Club lead vocalist Charlie Mahoney.

“The one I was thinking of was ‘If the lead singer’s not happy, nobody’s happy,’” replied lead guitarist and vocalist Sam Tucker, referring to a notorious meeting the band had in the midst of serious doubt about the band’s future. 

That meeting ended with a hardened resolve to keep Flight Club going, and last Friday, that dedication came to fruition with the band’s first release in two years: a rambunctious EP titled “Recreational Love.” 

The EP features five new tracks in addition to “Discount Drugs,” a single released on Halloween. They all retain Flight Club’s recognizable punk rock philosophy with more flashy guitar work and brassy vocals full of attitude. 

The band cited some unexpected acts as inspiration for how their sound is evolving, such as Hippo Campus, Sublime and even Harry Styles. Guitarist Drew Seliquini turned the band on to the One Direction frontman’s solo work.

“I will say Drew introduced me to Harry Styles’ full length, and that shit is fire,” Mahoney said. “It’s a fucking rock ’n’ roll record!”

Fans starved for Flight Club’s energy and style over the past two years will find it in spades on “Recreational Love.” “Discount Drugs” is driven by a beefy, fuzzy guitar riff that’s more brazen than anything the band has put out thus far. “All Hell” opens up like a punch in the face with a combative riff and stylish guitar-tapping embellishments such as laser beams sprinkled throughout. A music video for “All Hell” is right around the corner.

Flight Club recorded “Recreational Love” in a rustic blue barn in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. The song is by Alan Day, vocalist and guitarist for pop-punk band Four Year Strong, whom every member of Flight Club cited as a huge inspiration. 

“He [Day] was really open to letting us feel out this new vibe,” Tucker said. “We also understood that he was feeling out a new space because we were the first band that he did a full project with.”

“Alan was a perfect fit because he knew our sound, hell he practically crafted our sound,” Mahoney said. “And he’s been doing his band for the last like 20 years. He was ready to step away from that, so he was the perfect person to go to to help us transition into something more modern.”

Flight Club will return to live performances on Dec. 13 at the Canal Club with fellow hard rock Richmond bands Centerfolds, Downhaul and Fanfare. They have soft plans for a new release in 2020, but nothing’s confirmed yet. “Recreational Love” has enough energy to satisfy fans until then.

“Recreational Love” can be heard on Apple Music and Spotify, and Flight Club can be found on Twitter and Instagram @flightclubva.

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